Lt. Governor candidate Sen. Rita Hart makes pre-election visit to Iowa State

Sen. Rita Hart asking students what policies concern them the most. 

Talon Delaney

Nearly 20 students, faculty and community members walked the puddled campus streets to meet Sen. Rita Hart, the Democratic candidate for Iowa lieutenant governor.

Iowa State College Democrats hosted Hart, who shared her ideas on political issues Monday evening in 211 East Hall, and listened as the audience did the same.

“In the last two years we’ve seen some of the most devastating legislature in Iowa history,” Hart said. “We’ve seen the loss of collective bargaining, school funding and mental health funding, the privatization of medicaid, a restrictive abortion bill and diminishing water quality.”

To Hart, these policy changes are the result of incumbent Republicans’ reluctance to meet with their Democratic counterparts and negotiate socio-economic issues.

“These decisions were made behind closed doors, without concern of the people on the other side of the aisle,” Hart said. “That’s not the best way to do policy.”

Hart is a lifelong Iowan raised by a Democrat father and Republican mother. She said this upbringing, along with her professional history in public education, helped shape her political philosophy.

“I found her personal story really enlightening,” said Taylor Blair, junior in industrial design and president of College Democrats. “You can tell she’s ready to work with people. Her and Fred Hubbell are very pragmatic people, and their actually talking about the issues.”

Hart is campaigning alongside Fred Hubbell, the Democratic candidate for Iowa governor. If they were to win, they would be the first Democrats to hold the governor’s office since Chet Culver and Patty Judge in 2011.

Hart said that she and Hubbell want to make up for that seven year absence.

“On day one we would start giving power over medicaid back to the state,” Hart said. “We’re going to invest in mental health, so the people of this state can be healthier and invest in water quality. We’re actually going to pay attention to science.”

Hart worked for more than 20 years as a junior high and high school teacher in the Calamus-Wheatland and Bennett Community School Districts. She’s represented the 49th District as an Iowa senator since 2012.

Midterm elections are to be held Nov. 6. According to a recent Des Moines Register and Mediacom poll, Hubbell and Hart are narrowly leading against current Governor Kim Reynolds, 43 percent to 41 percent.

“[Hart and Hubbell] seem like fantastic candidates for Iowa,” said Julia Stevens, a field organizer for the Hubbell-Hart campaign at Iowa State and political science student at University of California Santa Barbara. “I come from a conservative district back home, and it’s so important for politicians to work across the aisle with one another in those kinds of settings.”

Stevens also said her opinions are her own, and she is not a spokesperson for the Hubbell-Hart campaign.

Editors note: A correction was made to Hart’s career information. She worked in junior high and high school education, not elementary education as the article originally read.